Jeremy Weisz 6:22
That is that is wild. I love that. Talk about the transition from lawyer. I mean, you’re still still a lawyer, but to the kind of digital and events that we know, is Becker’s Healthcare.
Scott Becker 6:38
Sure. So, when I was a young young lawyer in this whole history to this, you know, in the young, there were two or three things that came into this is a young lawyer, you learn early on, that you ultimately are far better off in terms of in control of your life. If you are if you’ve brought clients into the firm, if you’re part of the fabric of bring clients in, versus versus not, and that
Jeremy Weisz 7:04
you’re a Rainmaker like someone who’s a Rainmaker versus not
Scott Becker 7:07
and so what happens in a law firm says, You’re very valuable law firms. If you’re a Rainmaker, you’re also crazily valuable in law firms. If you manage lots of people. There’s definitely CDP very valuable. There’s three sort of correlation. You’re just so great at what you do. You’re Rainmaker or you manage tons of people. Early on in my career, when I was at a huge, huge firm, the people that did not have some control of their lives, they didn’t manage lots of business, they didn’t bring in lots of business, were treated so poorly, that I became very motivated very early to build a legal practice to build a business where ultimately I became a Rainmaker and a manager. And as part of doing that, I started sort of doing these small conferences and newsletters around a sector in healthcare. And that was just it was a very small effort. It’s really aimed at it, marketing it my law practice. And that was the sort of genesis of Becker’s health care, which started really 30 years ago now. And now Becker’s Healthcare, it became a very valuable media property, it really became much more valuable 12 15 years after I started it, when I started hiring people full time in that business, and grew that business into a serious business and that business now it covers, it’s one of the most widely read newsletters, digital and otherwise, in hospitals, and health systems, surgery centers, orthopedics and spine, then health IT and revenue cycle. And it was really built around niches, and a great leadership team, like many successful businesses, you know, was built originally for different purpose. And then I was at least paying enough attention to understand, oh, this can be a real business. And at some point, it became a real real business now has, you know, depending on what day it is, you know, not huge but 70 to 80 employees has six major conferences a year of course, the conference has been shelf for the last year or two. And then you know, tons of different digital properties. And and is is just been a great fun and labor of love and successful as well. It’s been it’s been really fantastic. Well, I was building the media company, I was also practicing one and building client base building teams. And I guess some of the lessons that come out of all of it is very hard to do anything significant without great people and great teams like I’m a huge subscriber to the old Jim Collins, good to great concept of everything comes with, you know, first and foremost great people and great teams, and then clarifying strategy and what you’re trying to do. But but that was sort of the genesis of the media company like Becker’s Healthcare, you know, in its, we’ve got great leadership there and the CEO, Jessica, call the editorial teams, the leadership teams, the sales teams, key management, teams, events, teams and so forth. So it’s been it’s just a great, a great pleasure for me, it’s given me a chance to interact with everybody from top CEOs in healthcare to residents and athletes and so forth that we use as keynote speakers for our fans. And it’s really been a great, great experience in so many ways. Jeremy, let me turn it back up, right yeah,
Jeremy Weisz 10:09
I’m an alum. I want to dig into some of the things that have stuck out with some of these keynote speakers but I wanted to just asked for a second in and I don’t know what what website we should point people towards I know there is AscCommunications.com where you can see kind of Becker’s health care they a C review, hospital review, spine review, Dental Plus DSO review, clinical leadership and infection control. Are there any other places we should? What other places should we send them online? To check out more?
Scott Becker 10:44
No, thank you. I mean, the easiest place to do is to go to if you just Google Becker’s Healthcare or Becker’s Hospital Review, Becker’s Hospital is really the flagship property within the Becker’s Healthcare media business. And so Becker’s hospital review, you know, is the easiest place to go. And then there are a lot of other secondary or offshoot properties and so forth. But the the sort of banner a flagship is Becker SOS for viewing it would go to that. Got it.
Jeremy Weisz 11:13
Yeah, I’m on Becker’sHospitalReview.com. You could check it out. And on the top, you could see all those all those pieces, hospital, spine, Clinical Health, it CFO, Dental Plus DSO and everything else. So check that out. You know, what’s interesting is, you saw some originally you go, you want to build this amazing book of Bill business be invaluable to whatever firm you’re a part of build your own firm. And what comes out of it is something that you like, this is an actual separate business, at what point? Did you realize that what was the attraction you were seeing? They go, I need to get a whole. Because again, like a lot of lawyers, they’re maybe working 6080 100 hours a week, they don’t have any time to build a separate business, let alone, you know, the business that they’re doing. So I’d love to hear how you can manage all that. But when did you first see there’s something else here that I need to build something around?
Scott Becker 12:10
So this was a this is a great question. This is a great question, there was an aha moment, quite frankly. So the business was going fine. It was going well, it’s really built on a couple newsletters on a couple conferences, for literally 10 to 15 years, there was a point of time where it was just naturally we outsourced everything in the business, I was still we’re installing them in a major major law firm, a great law firm. And, you know, it’s we, I was outsourcing everything to a company that was doing, you know, running the meetings, and we were on the newsletter. And I was sort of the Chief Content Officer, which is really the ROI I still have today. And in, it became clear, people were asking to buy more stuff from us to do more stuff with us. And we just didn’t have the team or capacity to do it. So that was one part of it. But a bigger part of it was, you know, always an avid reader. And I was reading, you know, one day about COMDEX was just the consumer, you know, electronics show. And the Consumer Electronics Show ended up being, you know, a $900 million property or some crazy number. And it was the really the beginning of the fortunes for, you know, one of these guys, and ended up being a casino magnet and all those kinds of things, too. And I was like, wow, this could actually be a real business, not just sort of, like illegal marketing thing, not just sort of whatever. And because the business is already making money, I was able to start it. And it’s not that I had aspirations like that. But it was an aha moment, that this is actually a real business, not just not just something that makes the money and helps me build, build the legal brand, but a real business. And at that point, I sort of decided I had to make a choice, we’re gonna keep on outsourcing everything. And we’re going to start building a team around it. And then there were a number of, you know, fortunate things that happened and starting to build a team, you know, that that sort of emerged know that the most valuable employee ended up being a person is my CEO and partner today, who was the niece of a client, you know, I was looking for some help, I was looking for people for interference from help just try and start to figure this out as a real business versus outsourcing everything. And she came to work with me when she was in college, and was so far ahead of all the people I’d hire, that within several years, she became, you know, Chief of sales and Chief Executive Officer, and was just a real big part of the success of the company, because was able to take sort of what I do on the content side, and build teams and commercialize in a different way. And so but there were, there were different aha moments there was, you know, we’re making some money, we start to read about people in this conference business that make real money. And then we started to hire people. And it was um, you know, it you know, ultimately so much of everything comes down to are you in the right place and do you have the right people so We we ultimately at some point ended up for some period of time in the right place with the right people were able to grow significantly. And we then, you know, we’re, you know, we, you know, we made a lot of decisions, enough good ones versus bad ones, and we’ve plenty of bad ones. But some of the good ones were we really focused on digital events, we really focused on outsourcing everything. But our core competencies, there were a number of decisions that we made, you know, we didn’t put too much ego into it, there was there’s a magnificent competitor in our business that has the weeding print magazine, and we were able to early on decide, we can’t fight that, we have to try and win digitally, not in print, because we just couldn’t afford it. And we didn’t want to take it outside capital, all of those kinds of things, we really, we studied some other things. And we came to the decision when to be deep in a few areas not not spread so thin. And so we made some good decisions, we made some bad decisions. But there was an aha moment we decided we could build a team, we can go after this. This could be fun. And it was really interesting. But then there were some of those idle moments. Great question. And sorry for blabbering on Jeremy.
Jeremy Weisz 16:06
No, I love that. It’s like you actually a big shift is you actually just decided, I mean, you saw this could be something and you saw the opportunity. That’s what I love about listening to other podcasts or reading books, it just gives you a frame like everyone. I mean, almost everyone started from scratch or somewhat near scratch, and they turned it into something and you saw Wow. You know, if anyone, I don’t know how much square footage the Consumer Electronics Show takes up, but it’s it’s huge. I mean, all the biggest companies, a lot of biggest companies electronically in the world are there. And it’s like, well, that, you know, they started from that I can do that too. And then you build a team around it. And I’d love to hear how did you decide and you saw, okay, there’s maybe some spaces that were taken over? And what is winning digitally look like? So you’re like, well, there’s people who have these print magazines, we’re not going to compete there. What did you decide your core competency was going to be and then I would love to hear about winning digitally.
Scott Becker 17:09
So what happened was when we really got going in earnest, there’s this magnificent cranes communication publication of bodily health care naida, weekly, forever, and they were sort of the leader in weekly print publications. And weekly print publications have put out extremely expensive, extremely, you know, people intensive and just just very, it’s a real real thing. And they had magnificent advertising in it. Now built by the cranes, families, whole family publications, been a great publication, healthcare. And we decided at some point that we couldn’t, you know, win against them there. I just couldn’t afford it, quite frankly, amongst all other things. And so we chose that we would try and be the most sort of viewed website and the most read emails, digitally in terms of a digital publication, digital application meant, you know, a very, very busy website, very, very busy, digital newsletters that get read a lot, and then ultimately end up in the events business too. And destination conferences, our conference, we’re never really COMDEX, but no conferences, when the going well, 510 1000 people would come to them, you know, and we would attract a lot of the top leaders in the healthcare sector to speak at them. And then great sponsor and advertiser support for them. But winning digitally was was what really came down to is our website, the most read website in the business or not it you know, for the business of healthcare. And that’s really what we aimed at where we got to. And it was a fascinating sort of development in a lot, a lot of thinking, building a great editorial team. We’ve got to think 25 full time writers led by Molly Gamble, and then Ala Alison, and we’re a third out magnificent editorial team. But but literally building a editorial team, and really focusing and how do we win digitally. And this was, again, 15 17 years ago. It’s a much harder thing to start today and do today. With with limited resources today, you need massive resources to do this. Because, you know, just so much digital traffic, digital overflowed digital everything, but at the time, there wasn’t that focus. So we were able to build significant digital properties with grated swirl teams and great distribution. So that’s what digital winning looks like. Are you the busiest website in your area? Do people follow your website to they look at it constantly? Do they have a reason why they’re getting the news they need to do whatever they do. And that’s what winning digitally looked like,
Jeremy Weisz 19:31
oh Scott, you know, who are ideal to be viewing, Becker’sHospitalReview.com and all the assets and then I’d love to hear how people engage, can engage with you whether it’s free or paid because I know you have a lot of new e-newsletters, people can sign up for your physical conferences, talk about some of the who’s who should be going to your site. You know, someone knows if someone or someone is someone who should be going to your site and then
Scott Becker 20:00
No, yeah, absolutely. So you’ve asked three or four magnificent questions there. So, but first of all the, the websites, and the electronic distribution is all free. It was one of those things we made a long time ago, that we wouldn’t have a paywall. And that’s how we would win. Having the amount of people reading our websites, reading our electronic newsletters and children’s, it’s all the electronic stuff is free. And so we made a bet a long time ago, that we had a river die with our advertisers or sponsors and so forth, because they advertise the sponsor would, of course, allows us to keep the lights on to make it all work, but but everything is free. So if you go to Becker’s Healthcare, you can go to the website and their website as many times as you want to, you can go to the newsletter, sign up for the newsletter as many times as you want to. And it’s all you know, it’s all it’s all free. Now, the focus of the newsletter is the business of healthcare really. And so if you’re the people that read it, the target audience are hospital executives, hospital leaders, hospital, nurse managers, hospital chief executive officers, hospital, CFOs, whatever, we have different lines for each of those. within the hospital sector, it would be Chief Information Officer, the Chief Operating Officer but but hospital leadership. We have other physician lines, orthopedic and spine, where for example, the reader would be an orthopedic physician, a spine surgeon, whoever it might be. We have gastroenterology, we have a number of other winds, but but the big lines are hospital health systems, health IT and revenue cycle, surgery centers, orthopedics and spine, the in the readers are sort of the, you know, people leading in those areas. And then the advertisers and sponsors are people that need to reach those people. And that’s the core of it. We already talked about no paywall. So that’s how we one of the things that helped us grow our audience. We talked about who the readership is, and then anybody who wants to subscribe or wants to reach me, can always find me. I mean, I’m easy to find on LinkedIn, I respond, anybody messages me respond almost immediately. People can text me, it’s easy to find me.
Jeremy Weisz 22:05
But the other ways who that’s great, um, other ways people can engage, they can sign up for the free newsletters, um, you also have in person and virtual conferences, too.
Scott Becker 22:16
Yes, we have. We have traditionally, very, very large in person conferences, we have six wires in person conferences a year. Those are of course, right now. You know, it’s touchy go, we just had to move our September conference, which is a health IT conference where both God Shaquille O’Neal was speaking, as well as Nikki Haley was speaking and our Dean was speaking, we just had a move that to virtual, just based on the growth of the Delta variant right now. And what’s happened with COVID-19, and so forth. We’re still touching on October november conferences, those conferences, people could find in our websites and attend in person, you know, into that issue has been
Jeremy Weisz 23:00
in person Scott’s like, BYOHS bring your own hazmat suit, everyone, just You mean, they probably have access to them, you know, everyone just brings a hazmat suit and you go, you have an in person conference.
Scott Becker 23:12
100%. So we like so some conferences are still going on, they hit this window between things really opening up and now getting a little tighter again, but some conference will continue to go on where, you know, required to be vaccinated to a pot a negative COVID test. And we could do that we’ve got the challenge job. You know, so many hospitals and health systems are the court has or a conferences are, you know, we’re are overwhelmed with cases overloaded. So yeah, so if we end up having a conference, and we add to that problem, versus help that problem, income, sort of like not being a good citizen or industry and we live in our industry. Yeah. So it is what it is. I could see that. Yeah, they’re overwhelmed or Yeah, yes, we have to make sure our you know, we have we’ve, you know, three or four core constituents. One is that hospital audience health system leaders, towards our vendors and advertisers, you know, and, you know, in three is our team, and ultimately, we got to come down to what works for all of those constituencies every time and so, at this point in time, we’re moving our September conference to virtual in all terrific, all good, we know all good, and they’ll be fine when we miss being in person, but it’s all good.
Jeremy Weisz 24:28
Talk about some past speakers. You mentioned we mentioned if presidents you mentioned, criminal Jabbar, you’ve had the chance to interview these people on stage. Who are some of the, you know, people that stick out and maybe some of the lessons learned?
Scott Becker 24:47
Sure. And so, there are you know, one of the things you find amongst all of the speakers, whether it’s President Clinton President Bush, Hillary Clinton, Nikki Haley, Venus Williams, Bill Walton, we’ve had just tons of celebrity Tucker Carlson is that, that all of these speakers have tremendous personal skills, they generally don’t get to where they are, without having tremendous personal skills. And there will be people that you might have come up with your own narrative in your own mind about based on what you listen to on TV, what you listen to in person, and what you, you know, what you’ve heard, and what you find when you meet almost all these people almost entirely, as they are just a pleasure to be with. And that’s partly how they’ve become so successful. So if you, you know, if you start out in a centrist household and thought Hillary was difficult, or Hillary was this, when you visit with Hillary Clinton, you find that she is just an absolute pleasure to be with as a person, you know, it’s like, unexpectedly a pleasure, like you would, you know, if you’re going to have somebody over for dinner, I mean, not to, not to, you almost prefer Hillary to bill because she’s just as a pleasure to be with just like a very nice, warm, pleasant person. And you see why she was so well liked and became so well respected and everything, you know, you meet, you know, you meet people like, Oh, goodness, and no, I, you know, George Bush, also just an absolute pleasure of a person just a pleasure to be with, you know, Nikki Haley, a terrific leader, what have you, but sounds like she’s talking always from talking points versus like having a conversation with you. People like Tucker Carlson, notwithstanding the narrative on TV a pleasure to be with in a more balanced thinker than what you get on TV. And so you’d find, like, Tucker doesn’t quite meet the mold that you see on TV Hillary, for sure. Doesn’t it’s just an absolute pleasure to be with them. People like Bill Walton, you know, you know, What was he like, works in dagger, but also just is like a fascinating, fascinating, you know, person, you know, many people are paid for a speech, and they’re paid to calm, I mean, they’re all paid to come, they’re all paid to be there. And then some of them, the moment they’re done are gone. And we’ve learned years ago, you have to pay for them also to walk the exhibit hall to visit and do pictures with your customers and your, you know, your VIP is all those things. But some of them, regardless whether you’re paying or not, for the extras, will just give 100%. So Bill Walton is like that Sugar Ray Leonard is like that you pay them. And they stay for hours when they don’t when they’re not required to. They’re just, they’re just, they give you so much value. They try so hard. They’re just, and people enjoy being with them, because they enjoy being there. You know, we’ve we’ve had so many different speakers. Obviously, it’s a highlight for me to get to interview, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Hillary Clinton and others and some of our great editorial, who had the chance to do that as well. They just wait, what strikes me as the overwhelming sort of like, you know, personal talents of these people. I mean, you can’t you you understand if you visit with so many them, Oh, got it, I could see why. People that you know, what you see something different than you just see on TV, where their opinion is the narrative by whatever you watch fox or CNN, whatever it is, or MSNBC, whatever it is that you watch, but in person, many of them are just normal, they’re normal people that have been highly successful. And many of them feel very much like normal people. Some of them feel like they’re still operating still on the make, but most don’t most feel like they’re just a, you know, it’s unusual pleasure to be with, but there’s a reason they’ve got crazily personal skills I enjoyed visiting with Venus Williams, almost as much as anybody, like, in person was tremendously humble, a little anxious or nervous at first. And they’re just an absolute pleasure to be with me, just you know, but you see so much of that, you know, like, It’s wild
Jeremy Weisz 29:00
things that right, that it’s someone’s so top of their game and world that they can be so humble and somewhat nervous, right? Because they’ve been in just pressure situations.
Scott Becker 29:13
But yes, and some of them are so good at this, like George Bush is so good. It’s like he makes sure that whoever’s interviewing sits down with them before. And he doesn’t do it to make sure he’s comfortable. He doesn’t more to make sure the interview is gonna be comfortable, as we have, you know, you know, you know, different people interviewing, and they just, they’re very, very thoughtful and how they handle it. And some more, it’s just, you’re just doing like, I remember originally first and we had Bobby Knight, Bobby Knight is spoken for us a few different times now. But the first time he came, he spoke for 40 minutes. We asked him to walk the exhibit hall. He’s like, I’m not in my contract. No, no, I’m not doing it. But then five, seven years later, he had mellowed some and was just an absolute pleasure. And it was just a pleasure and like, you know what call before from the golf course Hey, Scott, what are we talking about? We’re gonna do it just a total pleasure and then you know us Soft, softer side of him. We were on a panel one time with him and Mike Ditka coach Ditka and coach Ditka, you know it. Unfortunately, I’ve seen coach Ditka recently, it’s very hard for him he’s not, he’s not nearly as sharp as he was, he’s got, you know, whether dementia or Alzheimer’s or challenges. And, and Bobby Knight, you know, constant went out of his way on a panel with the two of them to try and make coach dico look good, you know, to make him feel good and look good. And you see a totally different part of Bobby Knight than many people have seen on TV or I saw originally, you know, it’s just fasting. I mean, it’s so it’s so he’s so past the time at which people are, I mean, it was the original sort of the general he was called, you know, a cheer throwing coach, like the old school, and you saw very humanized in person. And you see, you see that with a lot of people that have been made into characters on TV, like Hillary has been made to take character by certain stations, you meet in person, you could not visit with a nicer person, you know, Tucker, Carlson, sort of a character on TV, you meet him in person. And we, you know, you could get hard to visit with a nicer person. And I know, he’s playing a role now and stuff like that. And he only plays a role of bashing the Republicans. You know, Tucker plays a role of the Democrats, but in person, they’re much more balanced. And it’s, it’s fascinating to watch that as well.
Jeremy Weisz 31:14
I’d love to hear to thanks for sharing those some of your, your mentors in the industry or colleagues that you respect and some lessons because I know a few more minutes, but I do want to point people towards Becker’sHospitalReview.com they could check out more. And it’s amazing to hear some of the speakers you’ve had, because I remember, you know, one of my favorite my favorite books are by John Wooden on leadership and sports. And, you know, a lot of the audible version, some of the beginning part is read by Bill Walton, who was one of the players under John Wooden, and just so I’m sure you have some just treasure trove of information and speakers and sessions on the website. So people should check it out. From your perspective, Scott, who are some of the the mentors or colleagues that stick out to you, through your journey?
Scott Becker 32:14
Sure. So there’s really three different people in three different places that had given me sort of great advice at different points. And, you know, I could go through a bunch of them. But there was a gentleman who ran the department that I was in at the law firm who was very big on building niche businesses, niche practices. And that appealed to me. So sort of followed that lead in building originally, my original healthcare practice around a niche. The second person, and I’ll go through four very quickly at great influence me was it was a young lawyer work for me named Marcella Corpus, and when I was a young lawyer, you know, the way these big law firms is, if you want to get something done, you were sort of harsh or very direct to the people that were junior to you. And, and it was, um, I was probably five years out of school. But I was, of course, how it works in law firms, I was bossing around a person who’s two, three years out of school, and I yelled at a different person. And Marcel took me aside was a young lawyer at the time and said to me, You know, when you yell at somebody, it might help for this moment, but it creates a cancer in the organization in the long term. So it affects not just that person, it affects everybody else. And it was so inspirational, and so informative to me, that I basically got yelling and bossing out of my repertoire. Now it’s about 30 25 27 30 years ago, but it was it was it was life changing. For me, it was literally in a moment, I was able to change how I dealt with people and realized the the, they’re not that I’m always perfect. But it completely took me out of that way of managing, trying to get things done for the rest of my career. And it was just inspirational and telling for me, and it took the courage of this young lawyer to tell me, this is really bad behavior. And it’s bad for all of us got, it’s not just it, maybe it gets this done today for the client. But it’s bad for all of us in the long term of building the team you want to build. And it was really, really helpful. The third person is guy Jerry Peters was worried at different firm. And when I was trying to build a practice, he was very clear to me like Jim Collins says about Good to Great that everything is about building great teams, there’s it’s it’s, it’s impossible doing anything serious, without great teams. And and Jerry Peters sat me down and gave me that advice. You know, though, there were other people as well, that were very inspirational, of course, you know, mom and dad have been magnificent, you know, like, you know, in terms of encouraging and so forth. Then it was a vice chancellor, Student Affairs that you have II who was, you know, when I went through some challenging times was very, very helpful to me and sort of thinking through how he rebounds and resiliency and so for the guy named Stan Levy, and was, was very helpful to me and it you know, in a million ways in terms of mentoring me and thinking through things and so forth. So, those are four of the people that had specific direct influences on me. by purchasing from a law firm or sell a corpus, you know, there was a woman, Yvette Harmon is also a driven driven, terrific leader at our law firm, Marcel Corpus and Jerry Peters. Well, really helpful. And then Stan Levy from, you know, when I was in college and then throughout life has been helpful to me in terms of just thinking through things and approaching things and resilience and so forth. But those are some of the mentors that have been really helpful to me.
Jeremy Weisz 35:24
Amazing, Scott, first of all, thank you, I know you’re a very busy man, you’re running all these entities. So I just want to thank you for sharing your lessons, your knowledge, your stories, everyone should go to Becker’sHospitalReview.com check out more your E-newsletters they have they have not the same number of E-newsletters, they have podcast, so check out their podcast. They have a treasure trove of podcast episodes too, and they have a link to the podcast on the Becker’sHospitalReview.com that and many more. Check it out. Thank you so much, Scott. Really appreciate
Scott Becker 35:57
Jeremy, just a pleasure to visit you. Thanks so much for having me on and what a great job you do in what you do. What a pleasure to visit with you. Thank you very much.